Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chicken Soup North African Style

This is one if not THE favorite new recipe I've made since I started my cooking adventure. It comes from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook. It did take a little while to make, but I think it is well worth the effort. Also, the cookbook marks it as a "Fit to Eat" recipe, so it should be a healthy one as well as tasty. (Sorry, no picture of finished product.)


  • 3 Medium Carrots

  • 2 Whole Chicken Breasts, split, bone in, Skin removed

  • 1 Leek, white and pale-green parts, quartered lengthwise, well-washed

  • 1 Celery Stalk, strings removed, cut into 1 inch lengths

  • 3 Sprigs Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley

  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme

  • 2 Dried Bay Leaves

  • 1 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt

  • 1/4 tsp. Freshly Ground Pepper

  • 3 Whole Canned Tomatoes, drained, seeded, and quartered

  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin

  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger

  • 1 C. Diced Butternut Squash

  • 1 C. Quick Cooking Couscous

  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced

  • 1/3 C. Finely Chopped Cilantro Leaves, plus sprigs for garnish

  • 2 small zucchini, seeded, cut into 1/4 inch dice

  • 1/2 C. Cooked or Canned Chickpeas, drained

  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

1. Halve 1 carrot; place in stockpot. Add chicken, 2 quarts water, leek, celery, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and 1 tsp. salt. Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, 1 hour; skim off any foam. Remove chicken. Strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth-lined strainer into a bowl. Discard solids, reserving meat. Slice chicken into 1/2 inch-thick strips, and set aside.

2. Rinse pot; add stock. Set over medium-low heat; add pepper. Dice remaining carrots. Add carrots, tomatoes, cumin, ginger, and squash; simmer over medium heat until tender, about 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add couscous and remaining salt. Cover; remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff. Stir in jalapeno and cilantro.

4. Add zucchini and chickpeas; cook until tender, 5 minutes. Add chicken; simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.Place couscous in bowls, add soup; add cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. serve hot.

This is one recipe where I would use the fresh herbs where it says fresh. We made it twice and the second time I used dried herbs. I could taste the difference. Fresh was definitely best. I hope you like it as much as we did. Man! was it good.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh Sweet Sadie Roundup

I was lucky enough to attend the Oh Sweet Sadie Academy a few weekends ago. I am only getting around to blogging about it! It was so much fun. I'm really glad I got to go. Here's what I learned how to make:

Tissue Paper Poms:
These look better in person. This will be super fun for parties and such.

Dinosaur Tail:
Elinor looks very cute running around with a little tail!

Ruffle Necklace:
Not in love with this.

Cake Decorating by The Sweet Tooth Fairy:
I didn't learn much but it was still fun. Plus we got to take a bunch of cupcakes home!

Handmade Doll:
I am in love with this. It is definitely NOT perfect, but it is super cute! If only I had a sewing machine I could make lots more!

Mother Bird Necklace:
This is cute. (Side note: this is not my actual necklace. Mine did not turn out quite this cute). I haven't worn it yet but I probably will.

Peanut Butter Cups:

Not a great picture but these were very tasty. These are not something I would make on a regular basis, but maybe for a special occasion.

I need to start saving my pennies for the next Academy. It was SO much fun plus I feel like I learned some great skills.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Black Bean and Mango Salsa

The picture is coming. But trust me, this salsa is beautiful. Andrew can't eat all the fresh stuff in it but he said it was pretty and it smelled good, too.

We had lots of mangoes come in this week's Bountiful Basket. Apparently, Rosemary, Corbin and Brad won't eat them. Pat and Alisha didn't want to take them because they are from Mexico and not the Philippines (Pat went on his mission there and said they are really good there and no where else holds a candle to it). So, I'm trying to be creative in my usage of mangoes.

I doubled the recipe and made some of this Black Bean and Mango Salsa today. I made some as a thank you for someone in the ward, some for a neighbor and the rest for me. I think it is really tasty!

But warning on this recipe: It is a fresh salsa. It contains mangoes. If you're not a fan of either- move along to another recipe.

Black Bean and Mango Salsa
(from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook)

1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed
1 mango, peeled, pitted and chopped fine (look up how to chop one if you've never done it)
1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped fine
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1/2 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper

*Note: I used 3 mangoes in my doubled salsa since I think my mangoes were a little small. I'd probably use 2 mangoes in the regular recipe next time I make it.

Mix all of the ingredients together and season with sugar, salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest to blend flavors- about 10 minutes. Let drain in a fine-mesh strainer before serving. (I didn't wait that long, I started eating it out of the bowl with all the juice still at the bottom!)

Toy Chest, part 3: The Big Reveal

I'm done! Overall I love it. There are a few changes I would make if I was doing it again. Here she is!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

almost done...

Sorry about the poor quality of the photo. I'm not sure where our camera is and the iphone, although amazing, does not have a flash or any other functions for that matter.

Here is the toy chest almost done.

All that I have to do now is wait for 3 days or so for the paint to really harden and then put it back together. I am SO excited! I'm not in love with how the birds turned out, but I like the color. (In this picture I hadn't put the birds on yet).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Conversation Cupcakes

These cupcakes are in my favorite cupcake book. They are an idea for Valentine's Day. I thought it would be cute for Drew who is graduating from grad school (yay!).

I wish I had time to fill these a la hostess style (but much better).

The frosting is a ganache glaze. It was good, but not chocolately enough for me. Next time I will make the non-shiny version of the glaze. It has more chocolate. The nice thing about the glaze is you just dip the cupcakes in. Super easy.

You can find the recipe here.

One thing that was weird was the glaze was a light-brown-with-chocolate-flecks color. Not what I expected. But then as it dried, the glaze darkened. So don't be stressed out by the strangeness of the color!

The writing is melted white chocolate in either a baggie or a paper cornet.

They are definitely fun!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Old Time Beef Stew

Old Time Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut in 1 1/2-inch cubes (I usually only use 1 pound-next time I think I will use even less)
2 tablespoons shortening (I use olive oil)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
1 medium onion, sliced
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash ground allspice or cloves
6 carrots, pared and quartered
4 potatoes, pared and quartered
1 pound small white onions (I usually omit)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

In Dutch oven, thoroughly brown meat in 2 tablespoons hot shortening, turning often. Add 2 cups hot water and next 9 ingredients.

(sometimes I get a little frazzled while cooking so I like to have everything all ready to go. Then it's all about dumping in!)

Cover; simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.

Remove bay leaves and garlic.

Add vegetables. Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Slowly blend 1/3 cup cold water into the 3 tablespoons flour.

Stir slowly into hot stew mixture.

Cook and stir till bubbly. Cook and stir 3 minutes longer. Serve stew in bowls. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Meatless Monday: Lentils and Spinach

We wanted Naan bread to go with our Meatless Monday meal tonight. I did a little searching around and found this "Indian" dish on All Recipes. They suggested the Lentils and Spinach recipe be served over rice but I wanted to scoop it up onto Naan. So, I made a few little adjustments to fit my wants plus some of the suggestions left in the comments section. You'll notice the changes if you go visit the recipe and compare it with how I made it. I had fresh spinach in the fridge that I was able to use up too, which was great. It was yummy! We all liked it! I'll definitely be making it again.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced into 1/2 rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock/broth
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach or 1/2- 3/4 bunch of fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • grated carrot
  • 1 cup cooked rice (I put 1/2 cup in the rice cooker and then added the cooked rice to the pot)
  • garlic powder and garlic salt


  1. Heat oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Saute onion for 10 minutes or so, until it begins to turn golden. Add about 1/2 tsp. of cumin. Add minced garlic and saute for another minute or so.
  2. Add lentils and chicken broth to the saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer about 35-40 minutes, until lentils are soft ( this may take less time, depending on your water and the lentils).
  3. Meanwhile remove long stems from spinach and do a rough chop through (or if using frozen, cook spinach according to package directions). Add spinach, rice, salt and remaining cumin to the saucepan. Cover and simmer until all is heated, about ten minutes. Grind in plenty of pepper. I added some extra salt, garlic salt, garlic powder and cumin at the end to taste.